It’s always important to think about what you could be doing to get an edge above the competition. Right now, there is a way that real estate agencies can attract more clients: by collecting more reviews from their current clients.
These days, online reviews matter. According to a 2018 survey by Bright Local, 86 percent of consumers consult online reviews for local businesses (and the number jumps to 95 percent for the 18-34 age group).
In fact, the sale starts before you ever meet your client. The reviews that clients see in Google search results are part of your presentation. After all, your clients will be motivated to make purchase decisions based on this information.
Plus, the more reviews you have, the more visible you will be in Google search. Right now, reviews are the third-biggest factor in determining your search ranking. The more reviews you have, the better chance you have of outranking the competition.
So here’s what real estate agents can do to make sure that they’re getting plenty of quality reviews from their clients.
What’s the secret? Sending review requests
Chances are that you have a lot of happy clients out there. Still, many of them might not take the time to go out and leave a review for you on their own. The trick is to give them the extra push that they need to actually take the time to write a review.
How do you do that? Send review requests to your clients. This simple act makes it significantly more likely that they will actually take the time to leave a review. Although it might sound easy, there are certain things to keep in mind.
3 tips for sending quality review requests
1. Send a review request via text or email
While it’s great to ask your client in-person to leave a review, most of the time, even a happy client isn’t going to remember to actually do it. It’s too easy for them to forget about the whole thing after five minutes.
To make sure that your conversion rate is as high as possible, the best thing that you can do is to send a review request via text or email. That way, all your client has to do is click your link and leave a review.
2. Send the review request the day the deal is closed
It’s important to make sure that you’re sending your request the same day the deal is closed. The longer you wait, the less likely it is that your clients will actually have a clear memory of the transaction.
By sending a request the same day the deal is closed, you’re getting feedback that is representative of the service that you provide. You want to make sure that you’re getting accurate feedback so your business can improve and potential clients can get a complete picture of what working with your firm is like.
3. Send review requests to every client
Some agents are tempted to only ask for reviews from clients who they’re absolutely positive will leave a positive review. This is a bad idea for a couple of reasons.
First, you’re probably limiting the number of positive reviews you could get. If you’re only sending review requests to a small group of clients, you’re likely missing out on positive reviews.
Some agents might be afraid of the occasional negative review. While the fear makes sense, a negative review can actually prove to be a good thing for your business.
A study by the Spiegel Research Center showed that clients prefer businesses with a few negative reviews more than businesses with all positive reviews. Why? Because when a potential client sees a bad review, they’ll know the reviews posted on your page are authentic.
Plus, sending review requests to a select group of clients is also against the policy of sites such as Google. Remember, review sites want to maintain an unbiased review ecosystem.
Sending review requests to only a few clients creates bias because you’re not sending requests to the clients who might have had a negative experience. If you’re caught review gating on Google, your business might face a penalty in search ranking.
Consider automation to simplify the process
Manually sending review requests can take a lot of time, especially, if you’re running a busy agency. You might not have the time to sit down and write a bunch of personalized texts and emails.
That’s where automation can make a difference. I use a review software called BirdEye to stay ahead of the competition. Other options that might be worth looking into are My Review Dashboard and Get More Reviews.
With BirdEye, I can automatically send review requests to clients as soon as the transaction is completed. I don’t need to worry about a thing.
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.